Obviously not all journeys are the same. Not even when they are to the same place. You take something from every place you go to. And you also leave behind something of yourself there.
I almost hate saying this considering it’s the catchphrase on any dating/matrimonial portal but I do love going on long drives. Especially if someone else is driving. And it’s safe to say that my best friend from school, V, introduced me to the pleasure of being driven aimlessly and long and fun and musical just to get a cup of coffee or down a cool beer even in the middle of the night. Some of the cleanest fun I ever had in my life has been on these long drives when I was young, when we both were young and unfettered by the burdens of today – family, responsibility, work. Journeys that showed us we were the world and everything young and beautiful in it.
Then there was Anbz at work who bought a car and learnt to drive and drove me back home from work explaining the poetry in Tamil songs. Then we gathered a few lonely strays on Valentine’s Day and left half-way to Mysore to have a coffee, sing a song, and eat a cake. A journey that brought poetry and solace and that sense of adventure back into my life and made us turn into friends for life who never really leave even after a fight.
He was my man in a way no one else can ever be. And yet when we first drove together he already belonged to someone else. Why did we meet? What did we get? No fireworks on Diwali. You want to burst them; you love the smell, even the noise (especially when it’s yours), the way they sparkle and burn and change colours. You want them. Oh how badly you want them! But you don’t buy them, you don’t do anything. Because it’s like your ex who is married to someone else. You want very badly to have sex with your ex; you know it will be good, hell, it will be orgasmic, but you don’t because it is not right. And it will simply complicate things. Just what fireworks do to the environment and animals on Diwali. And that drive? A journey that rights a relationship before it can ever go wrong.
Journeys was his show. And better because it was mine just like I thought he was. Koramangala was his place. And I believed it would be mine. We drove around or simply walked and I believed in love. I thought it would kill me to not have that place again. Smoke rose from the ashes of my grief. Love burnt as did all the goodness. I let an anklet drop and walked wounded, soundlessly – a journey in pain – to waiting arms and kind eyes coloured brown and coloured blue. The arms steadied me and the eyes made me see. Without trying, I found love. I was taken and I was given to. I began to own the world. What then was an area when the entire world lay at my feet? What was a show when I was theatre? A journey that opened up unexpected views.
I set out on another one today – travelling, talking, sharing and sifting through all the old, trying to make something new. At 29, it is possible to feel 18 again. It was strange yet familiar. An exclamation and a question mark. A mingling of past beliefs and future hopes – yes, just like my tattoo. A solitary contentedness and crowded togetherness. I spoke about moonlight when I was thinking about the sun. It was all about distinct memories and indistinct desires. But it’s already a memory too. And who knows what the dawn will bring?
Do you remember me from that day?
I woke up a child and you crowned me a Queen
Your wife or your girl-friend,
Your annoying sister, or that nagging mother.
Even a prostitute posing her wares.
I was everything. I was beautiful then.
Do you remember that rusty old thing?
It is still there on that road.
A coated old relic of times gone by
A matador who refuses to die.
I’ll get corny and say – just like my love for you.
It was my carriage, your car – our moments in magic.
Do you remember that broken-down house?
I nearly lost sight of it today.
Surely it wasn’t so close
Nor the journey so long.
What was I doing then in the car while you drove?
Laughing and singing all those favourite old songs.
Do you remember how we ate with our hands that day?
Like starved children on newspaper covered rocks.
Today the water ran dry
There was no beer nor crows
And there was no gentle rain
To soothe the ache, and all that sudden pain.
Do you remember how we played Uno?
I smirked when I won.
The old man and woman laughed at us.
There was love in your eyes
Even when you trounced us all.
And we each left a bit of us there.
I found us again today
Months after we had all left.
It was there – a piece of us
All along the way.
And just like that I knew what happiness is
Let the memory live again!